Monday, November 30, 2009

Comparing Khador's Front Line Units

As awesome as 'jacks are in Warmachine, infantry is often more effective and cheaper points wise. The main line unit I've been using in my army is five Man-O-War Demo Corps. I bought them because their models are awesome and they're pretty easy to use - the biggest tactical decision I have to make is whether to boost the damage on their attack or get a second attack. Eventually though, I'd like to have a second unit I can use with different 'casters and I'm going to look at two possibilities here, the Iron Fang Pikemen and the Man-O-War Shocktroopers.

First, a straight stats comparison.

Speed: Iron Fangs are speedy at SPD 6 compared to the SPD 4 of the MoW.
Strength: The MoW units come out on top here with STR 9, three more than the Iron Fangs.
MAT: Pretty similar here, although the MOW edge out the Iron Fangs 7 to 6.
RAT: Mostly a non-issue since the Demo Corps and Iron Fangs don't have guns.
Defense: Iron Fangs are a little harder to hit at DEF 13 to the MoW's 11.
Armour: Here it gets interesting. Iron Fangs have 14, Demo Corps have 16, and Shocktroopers have 17.
Command: Everyone is even at CMD 9.
Damage: Iron Fangs are single box models and MoW are 8 boxes each.

Iron Fangs are faster and a bit of a softer touch, MoW are slower, stronger, and tougher.

Demo Corps - image from Privateer Press

Second, a look at weapons.

Iron Fangs: Their Blasting Pikes are P+S 13, have Reach, and Critical Knockdown.
Demo Corps: Ice Mauls have P+S 14, Reach, Backswing, and Ice Breaker.
Shock Troopers: Annihilator Blades also have Reach and are P+S 14.

Having Reach and a consistent P+S regardless of who I pick is pretty nice. Critical Knockdown is a plus and sets the Iron Fangs a little above the Shock Troopers, but I wouldn't base my strategy on getting it. Demo Corps come out on top here - the option to boost a damage roll for tough targets or get a second attack on squishy targets gives them great flexibility.

It's also good to remember that the Shock Troopers have a 6", POW 12 gun that they can use.

Shock Troopers - image from Privateer Press
Third, some abilities.

Iron Fangs: Shield Wall and Combined Melee Attack.
Demo Corps: Fearless.
Shock Troopers: Fearless, Shield Wall, and Combined Melee Attack.

Iron Fangs can make better use of CMA than the Shock Troopers due to the larger size of their unit. They also get a little more mileage out of Shield Wall because they're the faster unit. Shock Troopers, already the most durable of the three units, get even tougher behind their shields and can still sneak in an attack with their Shield Cannons. Demo Corps lose out here a bit but still walk away Fearless.

Iron Fangs - image from Privateer Press

Lastly, some final thoughts.

Iron Fangs seem to be the unit of choice if you need some pace. They hit the weakest, but not by much, and they have CMA to make up a little of that. Even with Shield Wall they're probably the most vulnerable with only a single health box. If you're looking for a quick unit with a good CMA and good durability for single wound models, these are your guys.

Demo Corps win out for raw power. Having the option of two attacks or Weapon Master on the one attack means they'll always have the right hammer for the job. I'd rank them in the middle in terms of the three for survivability, since the Shock Troopers have +1 ARM and Shield Wall. They're also in the middle for mobility because they'll never not run to keep up Shield Wall. If you're looking for straight up face beating, go with Demo Corps.

Shock Troopers win out in durability and lose on speed (assuming Shield Wall is up). They hit pretty hard, although not as much as the Iron Fangs with CMA (5 Shock Troopers guys can only do so much with their CMA) or Demo Corps. They're also the only choice with a ranged attack so they win the award for flexibility. If you're looking for a tough unit to take down that can hit pretty hard, take Shock Troopers.

Any other Khador Kommanders out there want to weigh in?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Playing More Warmachine

I got in two more games of Warmachine this weekend. This first was a 35 point game against Mercs. My list was:

Koldun Lord
5 Demo Corps
Kell Bailoch

I'm not very familiar with Mercs, so his list is from memory and may be incorrect.

+two gunners
Steelhead Halberdiers
the Piper
there was also another Driller marshaled to one of the solos but I don't know which one

On my right hand side, the Demo Corp, Widowmakers, and Kell worked through the Steelheads and a few Forgeguard. I lost four Demo Corp in that combat but they held my right side pretty well.

On the left, I ran my Manhunter down the flank and was able to engage a Gunner on the second turn by running into melee with it. My opponent put two focus on it to try to bash the Manhunter but it didn't work and the Manhunter would nearly kill it before getting hosed by a spray from Thor. Even though he didn't kill the 'jack I think his ability to distract around six points of models and cause those two FOC to be wasted was quite useful.

The Koldun and Destroyer hung out on the left / middle, Sorscha was in the center with the Kodiak, and the Greylords with just behind them. On my second turn I put three focus on the Kodiak and charged it into a Driller. The Kodiak took about half of it's boxes off before throwing it into Durgen.

just after the Kodiak threw the Driller

On his turn, my opponent charged the Forgeguard into the Kodiak and wrecked it. He made a mistake and left Durgen sitting at the top of the ring of Forgeguard and in my LOS. Sorscha moved up and feated, freezing the Forgeguard and Durgen, and the put a Hand Cannon shot and two Razor Winds into him. The Destroyer dropped a bombard and the remaining two Widowmakers hit him twice, leaving Durgen with two boxes left. The last Greylord walked in and used his spray to end the game as a win for me!

I should say that none of this would have happened if my opponent hadn't explained to me how to kill his 'caster, so I can't take full credit for the assasination but it was still exciting to get the win and see my army work.

What did I learn? Being aggressive with my models is a good thing. The Koldun Lord got to use his spray once to kill some Forgeguard and the Greylords weren't limited to putting Blizzards on things. Everyone got involved and it just added to the number of threats I had on the board. The Kodiak, Manhunter, and Kell were all productive for me and proved to be useful additions to the army.

The second game was a battle-box game because I was a little pressed for time. I played the same guy and he used the Gorten box. I asked him not to throw himself under the bus this game and he happily obliged.

In the first two turns he moved Gorten, the Driller, and one Gunner down the center and the other two Gunners down my right flank. I was able to catch the two Gunners in melee after putting Boundless Charge on the Destroyer but didn't kill either of them. I thought I was doing well after my second turn with Sorscha hiding behind the Juggernaut. The photo below is the end of my second turn and moments before I got smacked.

end of my turn 2

He moved Gorten off to the right a bit and feated. The Juggernaut and Sorscha were pulled forward six inches and suddenly, the Driller had a direct line to Sorscha. It got loaded up with Focus, charged into her, and she went down to a few boosted POW 21 Drill attacks.

What did I learn? If I get within 14 inches of Gorten I need to be very careful not to allow charge lanes to Sorscha. That limits my options a bit since he can stop my AOEs with a spell but hopefully I'll figure it out.

Sorry for the fuzzy photos, I was using my phone's camera.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sternguard WIP II

It's been a while, but I've finished these two. Sorry about the dark photo, I'm doing some experiments with my camera.

I'm pretty pleased with them overall and I'm really happy to see that my five months of painting random models actually had the effect I was looking for in improving my painting. Currently I'm working on their other three squad mates and then the five of them will get based together.

This past weekend I painted up a Warmachine model for a model exchange I'm participating in on Librarium Online but I'm going to hold off showing it until I know it's been received.

There are still a few more days to bid on the charity models from my previous post if you're interested!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Models for Charity

Librarium Online, a forum I'm active on, is raising money for the Red Cross by auctioning off six Warhammer Fantasy HQ models painted by members. There are some really nice models here, including one by FTW member The Grumpy Stunty.

Sigvald the Magnificent by Zentradi
Skink Hero by King Ulrik Flamebeard (The Grumpy Stunty)
Korhil by MrDee
Empire Captain by Jon Quixote
Khazrak the One Eye by Leech
Goblin Shaman by minus_t

Again, all proceeds are going to the Red Cross so if you see something you like please consider bidding.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My First Warmachine Game!

I took a trip down to the Hobby Bunker in Boston today to meet up with Press Ganger Paul and start playing Warmachine. He introduced me to three other regulars and after a bit of discussion about what to do, we decided to jump right in and played a two-team Mk2 game.

Paul and another fellow played Cryx and Mercs while myself and two other guys played a big, three person Khador team. Each of the Khador players had 35 points while the other two had three casters between them and a total of 105 points. I was a bit short on points so I borrowed a few models to fill out my list.

My List:
Koldun Lord
+ Destroyer
5 Man-o-War Demo Corps
Greylord Ternion
Winter Guard Mortar

Another Khador player had pVlad with Beast-09 and Behemoth and a huge Winterguard unit with the UA, several rocketeers, Kovnik Joe, and Widowmakers.

The last Khador player had pButcher with a Spriggan and two Kodiaks, a large Winterguard unit with UA, Kovnik Joe, and Widowmakers.

Against us was a Cryx army of pDenegrah, the Deathjack, 4 Bonejacks of some variety, 2 units of Bile Thralls, a unit of Mechanithralls, a unit of Bane Thralls, Tartarus, and two Pistol Wraiths. The Merc player was running a Magnus battlegroup with a ton of 'jacks and a Gorten battlegroup with fewer 'jacks and two units of dwarfs - one with hammers and one with shields and guns.

I was on one side of the table facing most of the Cryx, next to me was Vlad and his Winterguad facing the Deathjack, Bane Thralls, and Gorten, and on the other side was The Butcher and some more Winterguard across from most of the dwarfs and Magnus. Khador won the roll and chose to go first.

The first two turns were pretty uneventful. The Behemoth took apart the Deathjack, Widowmakers sniped some thralls, Denegrah arced Venom and killed some Widowmakers, and a unit of Bile Thralls exploded and killed two of my Man-O-War.

On the Khador third turn I used Sorscha's feat and froze a large chunk of the Cryx army. My Juggernaut trampled four Mechanithralls and then killed a bonejack, the remaining Demo Corps smashed Tartarus and another bonejack, and the Destroyer shot the remaining two Mechanithralls. I was feeling pretty good about it until Paul told me that he could probably kill Sorscha on his next turn.

Gorten cast Landslide and pulled me closer to Denegrah and then she feated, leaving a lot of my army debuffed. She then arced Venom through a bonejack and Gorten's 'jacks shot me a bunch. In the end I had two hit points left, but Sorscha was still alive!

After all the debuffs from Landslide and Denegrah's feat I couldn't do much of anything with my units, but Sorscha did cast Tempest on Gorten and Denegrah. Vlad was able to take advantage of that and killed both of them with his Winter Guard. On the other side of the table, Butcher took down Magnus with some more Winterguard - Khador wins!

What did I learn?
  • I have a lot more to learn about the game itself. I didn't see the assassination run being set up because I'm barely familiar with my models, let alone the other army's.
  • I understand the basic mechanics of the game but the details elude me - this will probably work itself out as I play more.
  • I don't know enough about the game to comment on my list, but the least effective unit I had were the Greylords. They managed to cast Blizzard once and then died.
What's next?
  • The guys invited me to come back next weekend so I plan to do that and get some more games in.
  • They also invited me to a tournament on December 5th. Apparently the Hordes Mk2 field test will be out by then so it is going to be the store's first Mk2 tournament.
  • I'd like to buy the models I need to flesh out a 35 point list. Upping the Demo-Corps to 5 men gets me to 30 points and I'm thinking about a few solos to finish that off.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ways I Might Use the Khador Battle Box

After my initial ramblings on Kommander Sorscha I started thinking about how I might want to use my army in the Mk1 games I have coming up this weekend. The Khador battle box has Sorscha, a Juggernaut, and a Destroyer.

The Juggernaut is the typical Khador 'jack. It moves slowly (SPD 4), hits hard (STR 12), is easy to hit (DEF 10), and can take a lot of punishment (ARM 20). It has an open fist for throws or locks but I probably won't be using those right away. Its Ice Axe hits with P+S 19 and has Critical Freeze.

This guy is useless unless he's hitting something. He seems like a model that will want a lot of focus to boost attack rolls and buy extra attacks. Boundless Charge might be useful if I really need those extra two inches, and things like Sorscha's feat, Freezing Grip, and Tempest will all be useful in maximizing his potential.

The Destroyer has the same profile as the Juggernaut with different weapons. The big axe is replaced with a slightly smaller Executioner Axe with a P+S 18 and Critical Amputation, which disables arms and weapons that are damaged and does extra damage to system boxes. It also has a ranged weapon in the Bombard which throws out 3" AOEs with POW 14.

This is more of a utility 'jack than the Juggernaut. It is just as happy in melee but also has the option to throw around big, heavy shots. I thought knocked down and stationary targets were hit automatically with ranged attacks as well, but I can't find that rule so I may be wrong. If that's the case then the ranged option isn't as powerful as I'd like but is still good to have.

Thoughts on the Army as Whole:
Turn one I think will be pretty standard - give each 'jack one focus to it can run, cast Fog of War, and walk Sorscha up with the 'jacks. I can't imagine she'll be in range, but the extra focus could be used on the Hand Cannon if the opportunity is there.

After that, my first priority is to protect Sorscha because if she dies the game's over. Wind Rush will help here and so will Fog of War.

The second priority is to get the Juggernaut into combat - the best defense is a good offense! Sorscha's spells will help get him there and make him more effective. The Destroyer can help mop up with the bombard or axe, or pick a new target to hold up / destroy.

After that I'm not really sure. Sorscha might be able to take apart a light 'jack or 'caster on her own but I'd wary of committing her to something I don't know she can win. The big guys can tie up threats in melee and make a mess of things that have been knocked down. I'll have to be on the lookout for an opportunity to use Sorscha's feat and keep Wind Rushing for the DEF bonus and to get in and out of tough spots.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thoughts on Kommander Sorscha

Even though I have a decent sized Khador army painted for Warmachine I don't actually know how to play. Spoony and I played one game a few years ago but neither of us really had any grasp on the rules and we were using appropriately sized 40k models as proxies.

I've been in touch with one of the Privateer Press Gangers and this weekend he's going to play a few games with me. It's been a while since I've read through the rules so I'll be doing that this week in addition to getting my models ready (gloss and matte varnish here we come!). What I'm most worried about though is knowing how and when to use my model's abilities, especially the warcaster. I'm going to do a little thinking out loud in this post while I try to figure out how to run Sorscha in Mk1.

Sorscha's feat makes all enemy models within her control area and in her LOS stationary for a turn. Stationary models drop to DEF 5 and can't activate on their turn. They are also automatically hit in melee. The obvious application here is to make a lot of enemy models stationary and then beat them up in melee. However, I think I could use this in a defensive manner as well, sort of like a reset button if things start to get out of control near my caster.

Sorscha's RAT of 5 isn't great, but there isn't any reason not to take a shot with her Hand Cannon if I'm not in melee. If I have two extra focus it looks like boosting to hit and boosting the damage will be more effective than casting Razor Wind.

Frostfang throws out P+S 13, which seems pretty strong. It also has Critical Freeze and Reach, so her threat range on a charge is 6" + 3" + 2" = 11" and with Wind Rush it jumps up to 17".

Boundless Charge lets a model charge at SPD +5 (instead of +3) and ignore rough terrain and obstacles. It can be cast on an enemy model. This is sometihng that could be cast early on to get my slower 'jacks moving quickly and then later to get them get the charge into combat. I'm sure there are ways to use it to get enemy models out of position but I'll probably need to play a bit more to find situations where that applies.

Fog of War puts an AOE over Sorscha's control area that grants concealment (+2 DEF to ranged and magical attacks). This seems like a great first turn spell to protect her and her 'jacks from ranged attacks while they walk up the board. It can be upkept to keep the protection going.

Freezing Grip lets Sorscha make a unit or model stationary for a turn. Just like her feat, this is a spell that will allow me to control the board and set up attacks or prevent someone from attacking me. At 4 focus it is expensive to cast.

Razor Wind is a RNG 10, POW 12 magical attack. If I really needed to shoot something I'd probably take the 2 focus and use them to boost my hand cannon instead of using this, unless I needed a magical attack.

Tempest is a 4" AOE with POW 12 that knocks down models. Knockdown is slightly less powerful than making something stationary (the models can stand up next turn by forefitting their movement or action) and it's limited to a 4" AOE, but now I'm also getting to damage the models. Also pricey at 4 focus.

Wind Rush is a once per turn spell that gives Sorscha an extra 6" of movement (that doesn't make her count as moving) and +4 DEF for 2 focus. This spell will be useful to get into melee, get out of trouble, or just general use for the DEF bonus.

Sorscha has a pretty diverse set of spells. Tempest and Freezing Grip allow me to control my opponents models and make them easier to hit. Razor Wind and Tempest are attack spells that let me damage the enemy. Wind Rish, Boundless Charge, and Fog of War provide buffs to my models to make them have better DEF, be harder to hit, and move faster.

However, having only 6 focus means that spell choice is going to be important. The two control spells each cost 4 focus, Boundless Charge and Fog of War are 3 each (although FoW will only be 1 focus after that for upkeep), and Wind Rush and Razor Wind are each 2. In my opinion, Razor Wind isn't terribly useful so most of my spells are 3 or 4 focus to cast. That's going to mean that I'll be able to cast one spell and give out focus to my 'jacks, or cast two spells and have almost no focus left over.

Again, these are more stream of conscious thoughts about Sorscha than a tactica on how to use her effectively. I've never played the game and I'm just hoping to have some idea of what to do in my games this weekend.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sternguard WIP I

I worked on my first two Sternguard a bit this weekend:

I tired a few new things with the blue and red to try and bring the level of contrast up a but. I shaded the red with a green wash and then worked the highlights up to orange, and worked my way up to Ice Blue on the armour. You can get a better look by clicking on the image.

I also played around a bit in Photoshop with the background - I think it worked pretty well.

Hopefully I'll have some time this weekend to finish these guys. I've got a model in the mail that should be arriving this weekend that I'd really like to get started on.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

October Summary

Painting for Points:
I've mostly exhausted my stock of Fantasy models this month by painting up two Wood Elf heroes and an Empire Captain. They're each one point so I've done 66 points for the year.

New Model Fund:
I bought the Space Wolves Codex this month for $26.56. Since I started October with $62.93, I'll finish with $36.67 and start November with $68.18.

A few posts ago I outlined my plans to dig back into my Crimson Fists. I've cleaned and based the first two Sternguard models and started basecoating their armour last night. I'm trying something a little different with them and so far I'm liking it - look for an update on them soon.

I've also tentatively set up a date to get a demo game of Warmachine from one of their Press Gangers next weekend so hopefully there will be some updates on that front as well.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wood Elf Spellsinger

As far as I can tell, my Wood Elves are done! I've painted all of the cool looking Lord and Hero models and I have zero interest in doing any more units of anything.

This guy was fun for a while but he really started to drag out towards the end with all the details (especially the leaves all over his cloak!).

In pretty typical fashion I rushed him at the end to get him off my painting table but overall I'm pleased. His face (and the face on the spite, too) turned out well and, as annoying as they were, I think the leaves worked out as well.

As I said a few posts ago, now that the elves are done I'm going back to my Crimson Fists. I'm going to get a few of the Sternguard done first and then decided if I want to do more of them, the Dread, or the Assault marines. Here are the first two up: